Crime-ridden Denver is now PAYING for businesses to set up in its drug-and-alcohol-ravaged neighborhood

Crime-ridden Denver is now PAYING for businesses to set up in its drug-and-alcohol-ravaged neighborhood

Desperate Denver city officials are now paying businesses to occupy empty storefronts in one of the city’s most crime-ridden neighborhoods.

The Downtown Denver Partnership and the city’s Department of Economic Development and Opportunity announced the launch of the Pop-up Denver program last week.

Selected businesses can receive up to three months of free rent and a $20,000 reward to cover interior design, installation, and merchandising support costs.

Only five businesses will receive vacant downtown space at the intersection of 16th Street and Champa, one of the city’s most concentrated drug and violent crime hotspots.

More than 53 drug-related crimes were reported in the area in 2021, amid an overall surge in crime in Mile High City, where robberies are now up 75 percent and drug-related crimes are up 26.8 percent since the beginning of the year compared to the previous year. the same period last year.

In an attempt to cope with the effects of the pandemic and the surge in crime, four of the spaces are dedicated to retail and one of the storefronts will be occupied by the art business.

Supporters hope the initiative will help “reimagine downtown one storefront at a time” and attract long-term, solvent tenants.

“This program is designed to give them a path to success,” Sarah Wiebenson, senior economic development manager for the Downtown Denver Partnership, told Fox31.

“And our ultimate goal is for the tenants selected for these spaces to truly become long-term paying tenants for participating property owners,” she added.

The Downtown Denver Partnership and the City's Department of Economic Development and Opportunity announced the launch of the Pop-up Denver program.  Five businesses will receive a free storefront along 16th Street and Champa and $20,000.

The Downtown Denver Partnership and the City’s Department of Economic Development and Opportunity announced the launch of the Pop-up Denver program. Five businesses will receive a free storefront along 16th Street and Champa and $20,000.

In the city of Mile High, robberies are now up 75 percent and drug-related crimes are up 26.8 percent year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

In the city of Mile High, robberies are now up 75 percent and drug-related crimes are up 26.8 percent year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

In Denver, drug-related crimes are up 26.8% year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

In Denver, drug-related crimes are up 26.8% year-to-date compared to the same period last year.

The windows for sale were previously owned by Krispy-Kreme, Starbucks, TCF Bank, a beauty salon and a bagel store that were forced to close due to a staggering surge in crime and a lack of demand associated with the pandemic.

Businesses that remain open in the crime district are familiar with these challenges as they struggled to stay afloat and saw their profits shrink.

“We have been very, very affected by COVID,” Derek Friedman, owner of The Sports Fan store located in the area, told Fox 31.

“Firstly, we were forced to close, and secondly, the game attendance was very, very low because people were not allowed to go.”

“And so when traffic drops, that means traffic drops to 16th Street, and that hurts our business very, very badly,” he added.

Friedman attributed the surge in crime to the lack of police in the area.

“We have seen a significant amount of crime in these particular stores,” Friedman said.

“One of the key differences is the number of cops that used to be right in front of our store and right next to it and all over 16th Street.”

Following calls to cut police funding sparked by the summer 2020 riots following the killing of George Floyd at the hands of a police officer in Minneapolis, Denver has been forced to return the money to its police department due to a surge in violent crime.

The city budget passed in November increased police spending to $265 million, according to Axios Denver.

Crime-ridden Denver is now PAYING for businesses to set up in its drug-and-alcohol-ravaged neighborhood

“This program is designed to give them a path to success,” said Sarah Wiebenson, senior economic development manager for the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Supporters hope the initiative will help

Supporters hope the initiative will help “reimagine downtown one storefront at a time” and attract long-term, solvent tenants.

Only five businesses will receive vacant space at the intersection of 16th Street and Champa, one of the city's most concentrated drug and violent crime hotspots.

Only five businesses will receive vacant space at the intersection of 16th Street and Champa, one of the city’s most concentrated drug and violent crime hotspots.

Sarah Wiebenson of the Downtown Denver Partnership said the idea came to fruition after they became aware of the number of storefronts available along 16th Street.

“We did a detailed inventory of the entire 16th Street and found that there were quite a lot of vacancies on it, really evenly distributed along the entire length of the street,” Wibenson said.

Five selected businesses will be able to save up to three months on rent and receive $20,000 in interior design, customization, and merchandising support.

During this period, stores will have to pay for utilities, maintenance of common areas and taxes.

Their marketing campaigns will also be controlled by the Downtown Denver Partnership.

Companies interested in the initiative can apply until 17:00 March 4. The committee will then select three businesses for each store and hear suggestions on what they plan to do with the space.

All five locations are expected to be open by June 1, according to the Pop-Up Denver website.

“We have been very, very affected by COVID,” said Derek Friedman, owner of The Sports Fan store located in the area.  Friedman also blames the lack of police in the area for the rise in crime.

“We have been very, very affected by COVID,” said Derek Friedman, owner of The Sports Fan store located in the area. Friedman also blames the lack of police in the area for the rise in crime.

The area in downtown Denver is one of the most concentrated crime centers in the city.

The area in downtown Denver is one of the most concentrated crime centers in the city.

“There are a lot of really good reasons why people are returning to the city center. and positive energy tends to crowd out negative activity,” Wibenson said.

“We want them to attract a lot of people and have a great customer base. So that’s one of the criteria that will help existing businesses.”

From 2017 to 2020, between 10 and 30 drug and alcohol-related crimes were registered annually, but in 2021 the situation has changed: more than 89 such incidents were registered.

In Denver, the total number of violent crimes since the beginning of the year has increased by 19.4% compared to the same period in 2021, according to the Denver Post.

The number of serious attacks rose by 4% to 210 this year and 202 in the same period last year.

The number of robberies increased by 75%, car theft – by 18.3%, and drug-related crimes – by 26.8%.

Domestic violence crimes decreased by 9.8%, while burglaries and bicycle thefts decreased by 26.9% and 59.2%, respectively.

In December, 47-year-old Lyndon McLeod shot and killed five during a riot.  He was shot by the police

In December, 47-year-old Lyndon McLeod shot and killed five during a riot. He was shot by the police

In the past year, a string of horrific crimes have occurred in Denver that have worried residents and authorities.  In December, a militant with extremist views and psychiatric episodes shot and killed five

In the past year, a string of horrific crimes have occurred in Denver that have worried residents and authorities. In December, a militant with extremist views and psychiatric episodes shot and killed five

In the past year, a string of horrific crimes have occurred in Denver that have worried residents and authorities.

In October, an Uber driver was stabbed multiple times after he told a group of teenagers that not all of them could fit in his car.

The victim was called to South Broadway and Evans Avenue in Denver.

The adult driver got into a verbal altercation with the young group after informing them that he would not be able to accommodate them all. The teens then stabbed him when their argument escalated into violence.

According to the Denver Police Department, the driver received at least two stab wounds in the back and stomach.

In December, a militant with extremist views and psychiatric episodes shot and killed five people.

Lyndon McLeod, 47, was shot and killed by police officers at the end of his rampage in tattoo parlors.

McLeod owned the Flat Black Ink tattoo business until 2017, according to ABC. His rampage was directed against several tattoo parlors, and three of his five victims worked in the tattoo industry.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock vowed to tackle the surge in crime and released a public safety action plan.

“I will not let this continue in front of my eyes,” Hancock said on Thursday. “But I also understand that this is a marathon, not a sprint.”

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